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Current Issues in Molecular Biology is published by MDPI from Volume 43 Issue 1 (2021). Previous articles were published by another publisher in Open Access under a CC-BY (or CC-BY-NC-ND) licence, and they are hosted by MDPI on mdpi.com as a courtesy and upon agreement with Caister Press.

Curr. Issues Mol. Biol., Volume 9, Issue 2 (July 2007) – 4 articles

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982 KiB  
Review
Game and Players: Mitochondrial Apoptosis and the Therapeutic Potential of Ursodeoxycholic Acid
by Susana Solá, Márcia M. Aranha, Clifford J. Steer and Cecília M.P. Rodrigues
Curr. Issues Mol. Biol. 2007, 9(2), 123-139; https://doi.org/10.21775/cimb.009.123 - 11 May 2007
Viewed by 490
Abstract
Apoptosis represents a universal and exquisitely efficient cellular suicide pathway essential for a variety of normal biological processes ranging from embryonic development to ageing. In fact, tissue homeostasis is dependent on the perfect balance between positive and negative signals that determines the decision [...] Read more.
Apoptosis represents a universal and exquisitely efficient cellular suicide pathway essential for a variety of normal biological processes ranging from embryonic development to ageing. In fact, tissue homeostasis is dependent on the perfect balance between positive and negative signals that determines the decision between life and death. Therefore, any imbalance can result in a wide range of pathologic disorders associated with unwanted apoptosis or cell growth. During the apoptotic process, the molecular players interact closely with each other in ways relevant to accelerate or interrupt the cellular death process. In addition, two major pathways of apoptosis activation have been recognized as the "intrinsic" mitochondrial pathway and the "extrinsic" death receptor pathway. Although these pathways act independently to initiate apoptosis, a delicate balance and cross-talk between the extrinsic and intrinsic pathways is thought to occur in many cell types. Interestingly, we have shown that ursodeoxycholic acid (UDCA), an endogenous hydrophilic bile acid, is a potent inhibitor of apoptosis by either stabilizing the mitochondrial membrane or modulating the expression of specific upstream targets. Herein, we review the main effectors involved in the death machinery, describe how they interact to regulate apoptosis, and discuss the main pathways that control cell death and survival. Further, we address multiple interesting targets as well as the potential application of UDCA as a therapeutic modality for apoptosis-related disorders. Full article
1370 KiB  
Review
The Enigma of Double-stranded RNA (dsRNA) Associated with Mushroom Virus X (MVX)
by Juluri R. Rao, David W. A. Nelson and Stephen McClean
Curr. Issues Mol. Biol. 2007, 9(2), 103-122; https://doi.org/10.21775/cimb.009.103 - 11 May 2007
Viewed by 642
Abstract
New variants of pathogenic fungal viruses are emerging and they are enigmatic in revealing their molecular identity and of their origin. Double-stranded RNAs, some in non-encapsidated forms are increasingly becoming causal agents for sporadic diseases and are consistently associated with a complex profile [...] Read more.
New variants of pathogenic fungal viruses are emerging and they are enigmatic in revealing their molecular identity and of their origin. Double-stranded RNAs, some in non-encapsidated forms are increasingly becoming causal agents for sporadic diseases and are consistently associated with a complex profile of dsRNAs, presumably of (multiple) viral origin present in the host while the same are conspicuously absent in healthy (looking) counterparts. The emergence of an unusual Agaricus bisporus mushroom 'patch disease' first reported in 1996, later termed as 'mushroom virus X' (MVX), exhibited a wide range of symptoms (e.g. barren patches beside healthy looking mushrooms, arrested pins, premature opening, brown, off-colour and distortions in shape). A variable compendium of novel 26 (dsRNA) elements, ranging in sizes between 20.2 kb to 0.64 kb, several of them (~17/26) in non-encapsidated form have been shown to occur in the diseased mushroom fruiting bodies and are thought to comprise multiple viruses. Ten years on, this devastating disease is now more widespread and prevalent in a number of European countries (e.g. The Netherlands, Ireland) ranging from occasional to severe outbreaks leading to crop losses. Impressive data has been accumulated on the symptoms, but the potential aetiological sources, biochemical and molecular characterizations corresponding to the symptoms vis-a-vis MVX linked dsRNAs still remain either elusive or unclear. We have overviewed mainly the molecular findings of research groups working on MVX in these countries together with our own work on MVX in Northern Ireland. To date, the results reviewed suggest that with the exception of 4 low molecular weight dsRNA bands (sizes 2.0. 1.8, 0.8 and 0.6 kb) which consistently were found synchronous to mushroom off-colour/browning symptoms in the UK and the Netherlands, other individual MVX dsRNAs or their banding patterns clearly lack credible relationship with other symptoms of the MVX disease complex. The issues in the molecular characterisation of the MVX dsRNAs include the disparate results on the molecular sequences obtained for some of these by the different research groups, the varying molecular methods or approaches adopted by them for deciphering the nucleotide sequences of the novel dsRNAs that are different from previously encountered mushroom viruses. The future outlook and general consensus among mushroom researchers worldwide is for an urgent need to recruit international taskforce and re-focus on clarifying the symptom vis-a-vis dsRNAs in the enigmatic MVX disease complex. As crossing the cellular membrane is a key step to infection process, we have also attempted to draw parallels with other viruses in terms of the potential cell entry mechanisms for MVX dsRNAs. In the light of MVX disease and A. bisporus being a commercial crop worldwide in agri-food markets, and taking cue from its nearest Basidiomycete model mushroom, Coprinus cinereus whose genome mapping is completed, we also propose that it may be timely for the international research groups to renew efforts to prop up a network for sequencing the host A. bisporus mushroom genome (~38 MB) for a better understanding of host-pathogen relationships. Full article
1559 KiB  
Review
Molecular Diagnosis of Medical Viruses
by Rodney M. Ratcliff, Grace Chang, TuckWeng Kok and Theo P. Sloots
Curr. Issues Mol. Biol. 2007, 9(2), 87-102; https://doi.org/10.21775/cimb.009.087 - 11 May 2007
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 810
Abstract
The diagnosis of infectious diseases has been revolutionized by the development of molecular techniques, foremost with the applications of the polymerase chain reaction (PCR). The achievable high sensitivity and ease with which the method can be used to detect any known genetic sequence [...] Read more.
The diagnosis of infectious diseases has been revolutionized by the development of molecular techniques, foremost with the applications of the polymerase chain reaction (PCR). The achievable high sensitivity and ease with which the method can be used to detect any known genetic sequence have led to its wide application in the life sciences. More recently, real-time PCR assays have provided additional major contributions, with the inclusion of an additional fluorescent probe detection system resulting in an increase in sensitivity over conventional PCR, the ability to confirm the amplification product and to quantitate the target concentration. Further, nucleotide sequence analysis of the amplification products has facilitated epidemiological studies of infectious disease outbreaks, and the monitoring of treatment outcomes for infections, in particular with viruses which mutate at high frequency. This review discusses the applications of qualitative and quantitative real-time PCR, nested PCR, multiplex PCR, nucleotide sequence analysis of amplified products and quality assurance with nucleic acid testing (NAT) in diagnostic laboratories. Full article
1044 KiB  
Review
Assembly of a Functional HCV Glycoprotein Heterodimer
by Muriel Lavie, Anne Goffard and Jean Dubuisson
Curr. Issues Mol. Biol. 2007, 9(2), 71-86; https://doi.org/10.21775/cimb.009.071 - 11 May 2007
Viewed by 507
Abstract
The two HCV envelope glycoproteins E1 and E2 are released from HCV polyprotein by signal peptidase cleavages. These glycoproteins are type I transmembrane proteins with a highly glycosylated N-terminal ectodomain and a C-terminal hydrophobic anchor. After their synthesis, HCV glycoproteins E1 and E2 [...] Read more.
The two HCV envelope glycoproteins E1 and E2 are released from HCV polyprotein by signal peptidase cleavages. These glycoproteins are type I transmembrane proteins with a highly glycosylated N-terminal ectodomain and a C-terminal hydrophobic anchor. After their synthesis, HCV glycoproteins E1 and E2 associate as a noncovalent heterodimer. The transmembrane domains of HCV envelope glycoproteins play a major role in E1E2 heterodimer assembly and subcellular localization. The envelope glycoprotein complex E1E2 has been proposed to be essential for HCV entry. However, for a long time, HCV entry studies have remained limited because of the lack of a robust cell culture system to amplify this virus. A few years ago, a model mimicking the entry process of HCV lifecycle has been developed by pseudotyping retroviral particles with native HCV envelope glycoproteins. This model allowed the characterization of functional E1E2 envelope glycoproteins. The data obtained can now be confirmed with the help of a newly developed cellculture system that allows efficient amplification of HCV (HCVcc). Here, we present the recent data that have been accumulated on the assembly of the functional HCV glycoprotein heterodimer. Full article
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